Mental health treatment takes a step forward with new facility

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Michelle De La Riva, Community & Family Resources exectutive director, center, makes a few comments before the ribbon is cut Friday at the new facility. The facility will start accepting clients on June 10.

Michelle De La Riva, executive director of Community & Family Resources, said she isn’t too unhappy about leaving the organization’s old, crowded facilities behind.

Moving into their new building? That she’s very happy about.

She shared some of those thoughts Friday afternoon during a ribbon cutting and open house at the organization’s new facility at 211 Avenue M West.

“When we were designing this,” she said. “They asked what I wanted it to look like. I told them I want it to be as good as my staff.”

The new facility is larger, better lit, much more welcoming and has facilities such a workout room that the old sites didn’t.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Community & Family Resources teacher Scott Gernhart tries out the chair and shares a laugh with his neice, Kara Gernhart, during the grand opening for the facility Friday afternoon. Gernhart decorates his classroom to reflect the subject the students in the adolescent residential program are studying.

The staff will begin checking in clients on June 10.

“It’s pretty exciting,” De La Riva said. “We’re really overwhelmed with how the community is supporting us. We’re excited to get open.”

Cindy Turner, of Fort Dodge, who serves as a liasion to the local recovery community, spoke during the ceremony.

She described the experience of watching clients go through the program.

“You see them have a little lighter step,” Turner said. “The light starts coming on in their eyes. This environment, it can only enhance the experience. It allows CFR to touch the lives of more people.”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Doug Buss, of Bradgate, center, along with Lisa Sanders, of Fort Dodge, right, check out the women’s living room with adult residential supervisor Tia Painter, at left, during the grand opening for the new Community & Family Resources facility.

De La Riva said that they will indeed be able to serve more clients.

“We will be able to add an additional 200 people each year,” De La Riva said.

The Rev. Mike Carmody has served as CFR chaplain for almost three decades.

He is happy with the new facility, too. He stressed that the new facility is much more conducive to serving the spiritual needs of the clients.

“It’s God who makes us well,” he said. “There’s spirituality in our recovery. It’s a great predictor of what’s going to happen in the future.”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Community & Family Resources Executive Director Michelle De La Riva cuts the ribbon Friday afternoon during the new facility’s grand opening celebration.

The entire facility is designed to make clients, staff and visitors feel at home.

Scott Gernhart, who’s the on-staff teacher for the adolescent residential program, has made sure of that in his classroom where, with the exception of the desks, the ancient Egyptian decor is all from his personal collection.

“We change it with what we’re studying,” he said. “If it’s the Middle Ages than it’s all knights.”

He wants to avoid the usual institutional room look found in some classrooms. He said many students in the program associate that with the academic failures they’ve already had.

He wants them to succeed.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
The Rev. Mike Carmody leads a prayer Friday afternoon during the grand opening and ribbon cutting for the new Community & Family Resources facility.

“A lot of them have no idea what they can do,” he said of the untapped potential.

He lives for one moment.

“When a kid realizes ‘I can do this,” he said.

The decor works, Gernhart’s niece, Kara Gernhart, of Fort Dodge, took it all in.

“His room makes you feel comfortable and relaxed,” she said.

Tia Painter, CFR adult residential supervisor, has plenty on her plate. She expects to be much more efficient in the new digs.

“I’m busy now,” she said. “The work flow will be much better here.”

She was smiling as she looked around.

“It’s just more beautiful,” she said.

Doug Buss, of Bradgate, was one of the workers who helped build the facility.

“It’s fabulous,” he said. “There will be good recovery here.”


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